Sign

A sign is a representation of an object that implies a connection between itself and its object. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder is a sign of storm. A conventional sign signifies by agreement, as a full stop signifies the end of a sentence. (This is in contrast to a symbol which stands for another thing, as a flag may be a symbol of a nation).

The way a sign signifies is called semiosis which is a topic of semiotics and philosophy of language.

How a sign is perceived depends upon what is intended or expressed in the semiotic relationship of:

  • Signification
  • Significance (i.e. meaning)
  • Importance

Thus, for example, people may speak of the significance of events, the signification of characters, the meaning of sentences, or the import of a communication. Different ways of relating signs to their objects are called modes of signification.

Uses of conventional signs are varied. Usually the goal is to elicit a response or simply inform. That can be achieved by marking something, displaying a message (i.e. a notice), drawing attention or presenting evidence of an underlying cause (for instance, medical symptoms signify a disease), performing a bodily gesture, etc.

Read more about Sign:  Nature, Types

Famous quotes containing the word sign:

    The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.
    Georges Bernanos (1888–1948)

    The man of genius, like a dog with a bone, or the slave who has swallowed a diamond, or a patient with the gravel, sits afar and retired, off the road, hangs out no sign of refreshment for man and beast, but says, by all possible hints and signs, I wish to be alone,—good-by,—fare-well. But the Landlord can afford to live without privacy.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    I can only sign over everything,
    the house, the dog, the ladders, the jewels,
    the soul, the family tree, the mailbox.
    Then I can sleep.
    Maybe.
    Anne Sexton (1928–1974)